Tag Archives: outlander

5 for Friday: Books I’ve Read Recently

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My husband commented that our house is starting to look like a hoarder’s – OF BOOKS! People, I cannot stop checking books out from the library. And those that aren’t in my local library’s inventory, I can either order from PaperbookSwap or ThriftBooks. You know what I say to that, “Build me a library already!” 🙂 I really like how Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Home Library turned out!

Truth be told, there are very few books I want to keep. Those that I own, I either do want to keep (favorites, or mementos) or I will list on PaperbookSwap as soon as I finish. I just am a very slow reader and a LOT on my TBR (to be read) list!

Here are a five I’ve read recently:

A Fall of Marigolds
by Susan Meissner 
(fiction) – worth a read

This book takes place in New York City, Ellis Island in September of 1911 and in Manhattan 2011, around the 10-year anniversary of 9-11. Find out how these two stories are related. I liked it. A lot. The only thing that had me thinking after the fact was if people were really texting in 2001? Maybe in NYC. I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2002, and texting didn’t really seem like it was a (very common) thing, yet. But perhaps I was behind the game. Still, that little detail didn’t detract from the story-line. I thought it was otherwise very well written and enjoyable.

~

The Little Paris Bookshop
by Nina George 
(fiction) – must read

The Francophile in me had me swooning! I opened the book to find a map of protagonist’s journey:

It ends to Toulon! This is where I studied for a semester in college. I posted it to social media and tagged a few fellow “Frenchies”. My high school French teacher asked how I was liking the book because it had such mixed reviews! I don’t really understand why. I’d say it’s more of a feel-good novel. The only thing I could think of is that some parts may suggest the justification of adultery in one of the character’s situations. But when I took to Good Reads for reviews, that was not the case for the lesser reviews. Some people just couldn’t get into it. I guess you just either like this kind of novel or you don’t.

It just so happens that I do!

I wrote this book description down while reading, but it sounds like someone else wrote it and is not my own words, so even though I don’t know where I got it and can’t credit the author, I’m putting it in quotes:

“A book barge set up on the Seine River is more of an Apothecary for the Soul. Bookseller Jean Perdu prescribes books for anything that ails you.”

I think if you like all things French, enjoy books and understand the difficulties of emotions, you might like this book, too. Here are a few of my favorite quotes I captured from the book:

  • “Reading-an endless journey; a long, indeed never-ending journey that made one more temperate as well as more loving and kind.”
  • “We men become a pain if our job’s the only thing we were ever good at.” (On retiring.)
  • “Time. It rubs the rough edges that hurt us smooth.”
  • “I’m a firm believer that you have to taste a country’s soul to understand and grasp its people. And by soul I mean what grows there, what its pepole see and smell and touch every day, what travels through them from the inside out.” <– YES!
  • “To carry them within us – that is our task. We carry them all inside us, all our dead and shattered loves. Only they make us whole. If we begin to forget or cast aside those we’ve lost, then… we are no longer present either.”
  • “The trouble is that so many people, most of them women, think they have to have the perfect body to be loved. But all it has to do is be capable of loving – and being loved.”
  • “We are loved if we love, another truth we always seem to forget. Have you noticed that most people prefer to be loved, and will do anything it takes? Diet, rake in the money, wear scarlet underwear. If only they loved with the same energy; hallelujah, the world would be so wonderful and so free of tummy-tuck tights.”
  • “The sea was the first thing he found that was large enough to absorb his sorrow.”
  • “The more important a thing is, the slower it should be done.”

In my opinion, this book is quite philosophical. Bonus: There are recipes and “prescriptions” (book suggestions!) at the end of the book. After returning this book to the library, I promptly went to PaperbackSwap.com to claim my own copy.

~

100 Days of Real Food:
How We Did It, What We Learned, and
100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love! 

by Lisa Leake (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a flip

What I like most about this book is that Leake defines what “real food” is. Now, depending on what philosophy you follow, you may agree or disagree with her assertions. However, with today’s labels, it can get confusing. She offers lots of tips and tricks and reasons why she decided to shift her family to eating this way. The other half of the book is full of recipes. I promptly ordered this cookbook from ThriftBooks after returning it to the library. It’s a handy reference guide and I know there are many recipes I’ll be making!

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Real Food Has Curves
by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

Weinstein and Scarbrough are food writers by trade. They’ve written many cookbooks! This one, however, focuses on getting us back to real food. It all starts with one peach. I like the philosophy, but more importantly on how to categorize foods into four categories: real food, almost real food, almost not food, not food. It makes it a bit easier if we simplify it! Still, you’d be surprised what items might not be real food at all. There are recipes in this book I’ll be making. That’s why this book is now on my ThriftBooks wishlist.

~

Outlander
by Diana Gabaldon (fiction, audiobook) – worth a listen

We listened to Outlander on audio on our drive to and from Michigan to visit Rob’s parents in May. We only got through half of the book! The book itself is daunting at 600-800 pages. The audio is 28 discs, with 32 1/2 hours listening time! {I’m sure if you downloaded it, you could speed up the recording.} You can read about my initial reaction of the first half of the book here. Rob and I decided to pick it up from the library and listen to the second half on our September trip back to Michigan. “The Droughtlander is over!” I declared. Rob rolled his eyes. Don’t worry, I didn’t come up with that one on my own. Apparently, Outlander is now a television series on the STARZ network and Season 3 was just about to begin before our trip. This phrase came up frequently when I’d log in to Good Reads!

Our concern is that this long book wouldn’t tie up at the end. There are a 8 books! {With a few in-betweeners. Is that what they are called? And Galbaldon is working on a 9th.} Would we want to somehow procure STARZ and watch the series instead. We thought we’d be left at a cliffhanger, but it was tied up nicely.

What I do know is that this book has so many descriptors that I don’t think I would have been able to get through actively reading this novel. Listening to it was a nice way to absorb the characters. Plus, the narrator’s voices were fantastic. Now, do we want to subscribe to STARZ and pick up the rest? Has anyone out there seen the television adaptation? Thoughts?

~

What books surprised you that other people didn’t like?
Have you watched the Outlander television series adaptation? If so, what did you think?

 

Cheers~
Carrie

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A Good Mix of 5 Books for Friday!

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A good mix of audio, thriller, cookbooks this week. Oh, and there’s that one about a dog… 🙂

OUTLANDER
by Diana Galbadon 
(fiction, audiobook) – DNF

I sort of  lied about not listening to audiobooks until this winter when my commute resumes… because there was this one. I’ve seen Outlander on so many must-read lists, but it is Just. So. Long. (Approx 860 pages.) My mother-in-law even said she loved it and that it truly was worth reading.

Then I spotted it on an audiobook list and thought about checking it out from the library, but realized that I with my 1 hr commute three days a week (at the time), I wouldn’t be able to get this 32+ hour audiobook back to the library when it was due. So I asked Rob if instead of listening to music on our drive to Michigan and back to visit his parents if he’d consider listening to an audiobook. He agreed.

After we got on the road and situated for our road trip, I popped in the first CD (there are 28!) and Rob said, “Oh, no! A Brit!?” I would agree that sometimes British narrators are difficult to follow, depending on the context of the book. But due to storyline, it was only appropriate because the main character is British. I told him to give it some time. It often takes me a bit to get used to the voice of any narrator when I start an audiobook. I told him that we could eject the CD and go back to radio any time he wanted. I was just glad he was open to the idea!

We loved the whole idea around this book! It did seem slow at some points and I will admit that my mind drifted a bit from time to time, but we kept listening. At one point, Rob asked what genre this was because it really was hard to tell. A quick google search led to a description of this story as romance. I wasn’t about to tell Rob that! He would have grimaced and stopped listening! Plus, it truly is much more than that. It starts out as part historical fiction and the time travel turns it into fantasy and war fiction and love and romance and then maybe… erotica? Oh boy! This book really does have it all.

After reading some reviews, I will agree that this book does take some time to get into and can be slow-moving, but the characters really develop into something special. However, Rob and I quickly realized that by the end of our trip, we were only going to get half way through all of the CDs!

At one point, I told Rob that we could pick this up on the TV series to move everything along a little more quickly. But in the end, as the book got better, we realized we’d miss listening to the book. We decided that we are going to pick up the audiobook again and finish the second half on our trip to Michigan in the fall.

~

I See You
by Claire Mackintosh
 (fiction) – worth a read

After reading Mackintosh’s I Let You Go earlier this year, I put myself on the wait list for her second book. I found it funny that she addressed the issue of the “dreaded second novel” in her acknowledgments, about how that second one never quite compares… And I think that may be true with this one. It’s a great book, but very different. I loved the setting (Welsh countryside) and interesting twist midway through I Let You Go. This one takes place in the tubes of London. It’s quite creepy, but well-done. I love how most of her characters feel like real, average people.

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Cravings: Recipes for All the Food You Want to Eat
by Chrissy Teigen
 (cookbook) – worth a read

Tiegen makes a point in her book to say something to the effect that she didn’t want to write a cookbook about salads, but also that she didn’t want to write one that said, “Look at me! I can eat whatever I want!” {I don’t remember the exact words, so I’m paraphrasing here.} But truly, I kind of feel like the latter is exactly what she did!

This book is about flavor – and not compromising that. I chose a few recipes that I intend to make. Rob’s new fave obsession is Mexican Street Corn, so that is on the docket.  But to be quite honest, the recipes I have listed to try, tend to be the lightest ones out of the cookbook! Creamy Parmesan Skillet Eggs, Chunky Creamy Mushroom Soup and Sriracha Caesar Salad. Yes, please!

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A Dog’s Way Home
by W. Bruce Cameron (fiction) – MUST READ

I don’t think you know how long I’ve waited for this book. I first read Cameron’s A Dog’s Purpose a couple of years ago (way before the movie, which I have yet to see) and just loved the concept of a book written from a dog’s perspective. The way Cameron writes, too, is so compelling that when a chapter ends and I tell myself I’ll pause there, I want to keep reading because there is almost always a cliff-hanger!

I immediately read the follow-up book A Dog’s Journey. After finishing that book, I went in search of Cameron’s other books because I craved more books written from a dog’s point-of-view. Alas, those were his only two. I’ve read a couple of his other books, but was still longing for this style. A Dog’s Way Home did not disappoint. I again loved the perspective, the storyline and how it gripped my heart. Any dog lover should read and savor. These books are some of my favorites of all time.

~

Twin Cities Chef’s Table:
Extraordinary Recipes from the City of Lakes to the Capital City
by Stephanie A. Meyer (non-fiction, cookbook) – worth a read

It’s almost a secret that our Twin Cities house some wonderful culinary delights. I have been touting for years that we live in a highly underrated foodie city! When I brought this book home from the library and put it on the coffee table, Rob thumbed through it and said, “Why don’t we HAVE this book?! We need to own it!”

This book was published in 2014 and it is so fun to read about some of our favorite places (we’ve been to about 25 of the restaurants listed in here), grieve those that have closed (approximately 10) and regret those that we never made it to before they closed. That being said, I wouldn’t realistically make any of the recipes out of this book. Maybe that’s why I am a diner at these restaurants, not a chef. 🙂

Still, only three years later, this book already has become a piece of history – illustrating top restaurants in the Twin Cities at a place in time. We all know how the dining culture evolves with trends coming and going. But one thing I think will remain the same for years to come: relying on farm fresh, local ingredients and sustainability whenever possible. The only thing that’ll change? The creative ways in which to use ingredients!

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Have you ever listened to audiobook with someone else?

Cheers~
Carrie